Astronaut, Engineer is our next Governor General

What will Julie Payette do as GG and what will she be paid?

Julie Payette, 53 years old, from Montreal, is an engineer who worked at IBM before joining the Canadian Space Agency in 1992. She is one of 10 Canadians to go to space. And she has just been appointed as our 29th Governor General, the 4th woman to hold the title. 

She will be the Queen’s representative in Canada which is not a role of any power, really:

The governor general represents Canada during State visits abroad and receives Royal visitors, heads of State and foreign ambassadors at Rideau Hall and at the Citadelle of Québec.
The governor general presents honours and awards to recognize excellence, valour, bravery and exceptional achievements. The governor general is also the head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. (1)
Payette speaks 6 languages which will be quite an asset for her as she travels the world, and receives visitors from abroad.
She will get to live in Rideau Hall in Ottawa, which has been the GG’s residence since 1867.
Did you know you can have picnics on the lawn of Rideau Hall? It’s true! On you next visit to Ottawa, take a tour and then chill out on the lawn, where they have picnic tables set up for you. It’s a beautiful place.
As Governor General, Payette will receive a salary of $290, 600 a year. Does that sound like a lot for an symbolic position?
Well, in 1869, the GG was paid 10 000 sterling (2) which, as far as I can find, would be about $1. 09 million in today’s dollars! (4) (In 1870, a blacksmith in Ottawa made $2 a day [3])

In 1985, the GG’s salary was set at $70 000 (2) which would be about $140 200 in today’s dollars.

Payette, a 12th generation Canadian, will likely begin her role in the fall after the current GG, David Johnston, wraps up Canada 150 celebrations. (5)


Payette was sworn in as our 29th Governor General on October 2nd.